To expand on one of the components of the Safe System, “Safe Speeds” have been suggested since there is a direct correlation between vehicle speed and the likelihood of crash occurrence, seriousness of injury and the odds of a fatality. For example, the risk of a pedestrian fatality for different vehicle speeds is shown adjacent. https://apps.who.int/iris/rest/bitstreams/52184/retrieve
As a result, speed management measures, including road design, speed limits and the use of automated enforcement are critical pieces of a successful road safety program. Speeding (i.e., driving too fast for conditions) can result in a loss of control, failure to stop in time, and more serious injuries or deaths in the event of a collision. Some of these measures are described below under “countermeasures”.
Prevalence of Speeding:
In 2021, according to Transport Canada’s National Collision Database, 25% of fatal collisions involved speeding according to police investigations. This percentage was slightly higher than the percentage in 2017 (23%). Speeding in fatal collisions was more common on motorways, where speed limits were over 70kph, between midnight and 6:00am, on weekends, in collisions involving light utility vehicles, among male drivers, and drivers aged 15 to 24. In 2020, about 25% of fatalities involving speeding, involved alcohol and 4% involved drugs.
Pedestrian Survival Rate by Vehicle Speed
The goal of countermeasures is to reduce speeds to levels where any impact that occurs can be tolerated by the human body. One effective way to achieve this goal is through road network planning and design. On major roads, this may include narrower lanes, roundabouts, and median barriers that influence drivers to voluntarily reduce their speed. In residential areas, municipalities have implemented such measures as speed bumps or humps (humps being less aggressive), narrowed streets, and curb extensions. Some municipalities are reducing speed limits in residential areas, school zones and high-pedestrian areas to 30 or 40 km/hr.
Enforcement is an important and necessary measure for speed management. In many countries, speed enforcement has significantly evolved over the past 10 years. There has been a general increase in the focus of enforcement efforts and the increasingly widespread introduction of automatic speed control (e.g., speed cameras), which gives a new dimension to the enforcement effort. If undertaken appropriately, speed enforcement can be a very powerful deterrent that contributes directly to reducing the incidence of speeding and consequently, the frequency and severity of crashes.
Multiple research studies suggest that injury crash reductions can be in the range of 20 to 25 per cent at conspicuous, fixed speed camera sites, and there is also evidence of significant crash reductions through mobile enforcement programs in the United States
Some cities are mounting digital signs which display a driver’s speed as they approach the sign in order to encourage them to slow down. Local governments, as well as provincial/territorial governments, conduct awareness campaigns to remind drivers that speeding is dangerous.
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